Task Based Learning

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.. . . ..... 10 Intermediate level – working with texts .. . . . . .. . . ... . ... . . .. . . . ... . . .. . . .. .... .. . . .. .... .. . . .. . ... . . .....Contens TBL Methodology . ... .. .. . . . . . . ..“What is Task Based Learning”? . .. .. . ..... .. . . . .. . . . .. . .. . . .... . . 5 TBL activities .. .. . .... . ...... . .... . ... ... . . .. ... . . 11 Fiction – short stories. . 14 Task Based learning 2 ... .. . ... . .. example of . . .. . . . ... . ... ....examples ... . . .. . . .. 3 The structural framework of TBL . .. 7 Main Task .. .. . ..... . .. ..

TBL Methodology . A situation where oral communication is essential for doing a specific task. individually and originally with the foreign language. Task Based learning 3 . which must follow the experimenting task activities. All in all. as language teachers. One clear purpose of choosing TBL is to increase learner activity. He or she must take the responsibility of the consciousness raising process. because if we. TBL is concerned with learner and not teacher activity and it lies on the teacher to produce and supply different tasks which will give the learner the opportunity to experiment spontaneously. as if there ever was one! We must accept that we cannot control what each individual learner has learnt after for example two language lessons and as Peter Skehan says “instruction has no effect on language learning” (18). it is here that the teacher must help learners to recognise differences and similarities. don’t know which method we are teaching according to or if we do not think about teaching methodology in relation to the different types of learners. as teachers. to materials and last but not least to the learning processes of the individual learner. making the use of language a neccissity. clarify and deepen” their perceptions of the foreign language. This means that we. It can help the student by placing her in a situation like in the real world. The consciousness raising part of the TBL method is a crucial for the success of TBL. there should be a clear and defined purpose of that choice. Why choose TBL as language teaching method? We have to ask ourselves that question. Each task will provide the learner with new personal experience with the foreign language and at this point the teacher has a very important part to play. then hypothesize over it. In TBL the learner should be exposed to as much of the foreign language as possible in order to merely observe the foreign language. Having chosen TBL as language teaching method. TBL is language learning by doing. To help develop language through its use. and finally experiment with it.“What is Task Based Learning”? Task based learning is a different way to teach languages. Task based learning has the advantage of getting the student to use her skills at her current level. (Michael Lewis 15). the teacher thereby recognizes that “teaching does not and cannot determine the way the learner’s language will develop” and that “teachers and learners cannot simply choose what is to be learned”. when we choose TBL. help them to “correct. to levels. have to let go of the control of the learning process. “The elements of the target language do not simply slot into place in a predictable order” (Peter Skehan 19). It has the advantage of getting the focus of the student toward achieving a goal where language becomes a tool. we might as well not teach! Therefore. and that is individually.

engage their attention and promote their language development as efficiently as possible.“TASKS are activities where the target language is used by the learner for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome” As defined by Willis. interesting and able to address to the students needs. 3.  Task based learning is useful for moving the focus of the learning process from the teacher to the student. It can bring teaching from abstract knowledge to real world application. A  Task is helpful in meeting the immediate needs of the learners and provides a framework for creating classes. That means a task can be anything from doing a puzzle to making an airline reservation. Task Based learning 4 . What are the advantages of TBL 1. A Task-Based approach to Language • allows for a needs analysis to be matched to identified student needs • is supported by the research findings of classroom-centered language learning • allows evaluation to be based on testing referring to task-based criterion • allows for form-focussed instruction So we should select topics that will motivate learners. I t gives the student a different way of understanding language as a tool instead of as a specific goal. 2. 4.

group work Exercises like information gap activities Gradual increase in the importance of Planning. Building personal dictionaries. we are enclosing the following framework: Pre Task Raise consciousness Introduction to subject and task.The structural framework of TBL Just in order to see the TBL cycle. Report. Presentation Post Task Selecting. identifying and classifying common words and phrases. Thorough introduction to topic by teacher Use of pictures. Task Based learning 5 . Practice of language and phrases in classroom. posters and demonstrations Task Cycle Working with and using the target language: Activities like pair work.

so that the stronger students can work with the students who are at a lower level. Task Based learning 6 . The teaching techniques required for task-based learning are not very different from those of ordinary language teaching. In the task stage the students complete the task in pairs and the teacher listens to the dialogues. and less direct. This does not help the stronger students though. activating topic-related words and phrases The task cycle offers learners the chance to use whatever language they already know in order to carry out the task. while planning their reports of the task. The differences lie in the ordering and weighting of activities and in the fact that there is a greater amount of student activity. language focus. Otherwise students will not learn new phrases or words by them selves.Let us have a brief explanation about the different phases: The pre-task phase introduces the class to the topic and the task. under teacher guidance. but only increase skills in using the language the student already possesses. The last phase in the framework. and then to improve the language. up-from teaching. Another very important thing to remember is that even though after the task cycle is complete. If you the teacher do not follow up in the post task. for that they will need the aid of the teacher. the learning process is not. Issues concerning task based learning It is important to be aware of some pitfalls concerning the use of task based learning. Put crudely there are two parts in the learning process of task based learning of equal import. allows a closer study of some of the specific features occurring in the language used during the task cycle. The evaluation part is critical for the students to become selfaware of the learning they have just gone through. the second is to get the student to think about what it is he or she has just gone through. Then the teacher helps to correct the completed tasks in oral or written form. half of the task based learning process is wasted. it is neccessary for the teacher to help students expand these. Since it encourages students to use their own langauge and vocabulary. One of the pairs performs their dialogue in front of the class and once the task has been completed the students will hear the native speaking teachers repeat the same dialogue so they can compare it with their own. This can also be solved by having students change who they work with. Where the stronger student should be told to focus on using more advanced words and phrases. The first is to do the work and go through the tasks.

Anything that will promote the foreign language and set the minds of the students into a certain context and atmosphere. the consciousness raising activities: o  Students repeat their process and their work with the main task – must be performed in class – the process will make students realize that language is diverse and that many different structures and words give meaning and can be used for communication.TBL activities .examples Good advice •  Use the foreign language as much as possible. Give words and supporting sentences for students to use. ) photos (what do you see?) webpage ( what do you see?) . phrases. Task Based learning 7 . •  Teacher role in the main task: monitoring the processes of the students working with the main task. •  The pre-task is meant to help create a good atmosphere for learning without anxiety. • Remember the importance of the last step. • Use only mother tongue when necessary for explanation of exercises. •  The main task must facilitate a process where each student can activate and use his/her own strategies. o  The teacher must pick up and draw attention to relevant grammatical and semantic points in this last phase of the TBL-cycle. •  The pre-task must supply words. ideas to support the individual student in the main task. • Remember that a pre-task can be anything from for example: o o o o o o audio text a video clip a brainstorm activity a small exercise ( cloze. cross word etc.

Do not play the game with only two students in the game. Split the class into groups of 3-4 students and let two groups play against each other in the memory game. show a short instruction video. If you can.English for special purposes – technical English Tools: “What’s this device?” Pre-task Ask students to give names of tools. The memory game must consist of pictures and written names of tools. Add also standard sentences such as “this is a hammer”. Task Based learning 8 .Beginner’s level . Say or make students say “This is a hammer” and so on. Prepare a memory game with selected tools (10-15). where some typical tools are used and where the language is not too difficult. This may create a lot of fear and anxiety for the individual student who cannot remember all the tools and will do the contrary of what is intended with the pre-task – namely to create a good and safe learning environment. Let students add new names to the tools on the blackboard. Write them on the blackboard. “this is a spanner” etc. Bring a tool box and show real tools to the student.

When all sentences have been exposed. This exercise should be run by the teacher. and let others help in the translation. Let the students see one sentence at a time. They should read and understand each sentence. so that this becomes a joint exercise.Ruler Hammer Screwdriver Saw Pliers Tester Jack Drill Follow the memory game with a “What’s this device” exercise for the whole group. Let one student read a sentence out aloud. the students can hopefully guess the name of the device/tool. Task Based learning 9 .

 This device is made of wood and metal 4. The student should now be split into groups of two-three people. The teacher monitors the process of the production in the different groups and helps only when it is really needed. because they have all delivered and taken part in the examples that are used for explaining grammatical rules. At this point the teacher can pick out good examples from the student production and can at the same time open up for specific grammatical points.  This device can have many different sizes 5. so that it can be used as either an oral exercise or a reading exercise. Task Based learning 10 . This is also the time and place for the teacher to draw attention to some things that have been monitored by the teacher during the group work. the teacher must ask for the attention in the class room again and take over the process. In this way teaching grammar becomes a lively and relevant activity for the students. The teacher should leave help-sentences and phrases on the blackboard for students to use if they need to.  This device is longer than it is wide 2. The aim is to give full attention to the language production of this particular group.  You need this device to put something on the wall 9.  This device can be held in your hand 3. the groups must test the exercise with other groups. Each group must now produce their own “What’s this device” exercise. The student exercise should be written down.  You use this device to hammer on things. Try to guess the name of this device. When all groups have finished an exercise and are satisfied with the result. Other groups can add suggestions and ask questions. the choice of words and the grammatical structures.  This device is used to put other things in place 6. This activity should be repeated and at least two or three groups should be asked to present their exercise.  You have to lift your arm and make it fall to use this device 8. The teacher must now point out a group and ask the group to repeat their exercise and show each sentence on the black board. to look at the sentences.Main Task What’ this device? 1. They have to choose a tool from the memory game.  You have to use energy for this device 7. Language consciousness activities When the groups have tried out their exercise several times with different groups.

like the one below. The pre-task should always make students feel ready and comfortable before working with the main task and when working with texts. Write down your own experience. You must also hand out another piece of paper with a specific format. it is always important to include the main theme of the text and new vocabulary from the text in the phase of the pre-task.Intermediate level – working with texts You can easily use the method TBL for working with texts at an intermediate level. You must hand the text to the students with the marked sections and numbers. Task Based learning 11 . Look at the sections in the text and write down the most important information from each section in the first column. All you have to do is to be creative and to simply think of a way to turn text reading into a task for the students. ) • photos (what do you see?) • webpage ( what do you see?) • matching exercise with new and difficult vocabulary from the text The most important thing in the pre-task is to focus on the preparation of the main task. You must read the text and fill in the format. knowledge about the information you find in the text in the second column. new phrases. Have a pair of scissors. photos maybe and an open and creative mind ready. glue. example: Split the text into different sections and give the sections numbers. opinion. Main Task Non fiction. Pre-task • audio text • a video clip • a brainstorm activity • a small exercise ( cloze. cross word etc. To prepare the students for learning new vocabulary. new contexts and areas of investigation. The sections must be divided according to the content.

The text Your own opinion/experience/ knowledge You can let the students work together or alone when they read and fill in the format. The motivating element here is that it becomes a choice of the student which information to put into the format and that each student will have to make a case for his/her choice when talking about the text in class. Task Based learning 12 . When everybody has finished with the text and the format. students should be given time to tell each other what they have chosen to write down in the format.

where you ask students to read what they have written down in their format. to pick up problems and misunderstandings related to the text and the specific language. Here they can ask each other about meanings without being exposed to the attention of the whole class and they can ask the teacher about words and phrases that they did not understand fully in the reading process. You must then yourself write down some relevant examples on the black board. Language consciousness activities You can choose to let different students write their own result from the format on the black board. Task Based learning 13 . This is a crucial moment for documenting the necessity of extra work with specific grammatical elements for the students at this level. This phase leaves the teacher with a chance and opportunity to listen in and pick up good examples. You can also choose to do the same activity as an oral activity. It should never be only one student alone at the black board. because they have delivered the examples that you work with jointly in class for language consciousness raising activities. It is important to pick up the relevant grammatical points in this phase of the TBL cycle. It must always be more than one student who delivers the examples for the consciousness raising activities.When students tell each other what they have chosen to put down in the format. The teacher can walk around in the class room and monitor the students reading and filling in the format and the teacher can listen to the students when they talk about they own work with the text. Remember that it is always motivating to see for yourself what other students have come up with – especially when you have chosen your own answers for specific reasons and put an effort into it. And you have the full attention of the students. they are also given a time to work with difficult words and phrases from the text. You must use that feeling as motivation factor in your classes. but more importantly.

like the one described above. • Divide the class into groups that match the number of sections. • Divide the text into small sections – logical in relation to the story plot. It should not be more than 4-6 sections. text down. but should be included into a full TBL-cycle. •  When all students in a group have read their own piece of text. in front of each group and let each student in a group pick up one of the pieces. using a format for students to fill in.Fiction – short stories. •  Lay the pieces of text (the different cut up sections) on the table. Short story Main character Adjectives/descriptive language Other characters Setting 1 Setting 2 Problems/Themes Task Based learning 14 . example of: When you work with fiction and if a text has a straight forward plot. they must give tell the rest of the group what the text says. •  Take a pair of scissors and cut up the text into the sections you have chosen. • Everybody in a group must tell about his/her piece of text. it is easy for you as a teacher to clip up the text and turn the text reading process itself into a common task between a group of students. Obviously the following example should not stand alone. • Mark each section with letters or numbers. but can be expanded with a task like the one described about. • The group must now try to put the story into the right sequence. The following example is meant to be a main task. • Ask the students to read their own piece of text by themselves.

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